Happy World Earth Day! We have chosen 5 gin brands that are helping the planet, and by drinking their gin, helping you to do your bit too!
Earth Day unites people around the world to demonstrate support for the environment. First celebrated in 1970 in the U.S and now across 192 countries on April 22nd annually, The Earth Day Network brings environmental issues to the world stage. Influencing environmental policies and laws, educating people and campaigning for a better future for the Earth, more than 1 billion people get involved each year in Earth Day activities and demonstrations.
Below are 5 gin brands chosen by Gin Festival that are doing their bit to help the planet:
Handmade in Germany but inspired by Africa, there is more to Elephant Gin than the rare African botanicals they use to create it.
Since it sold its very first bottle, Elephant Gin has been giving 15% of all proceeds to two African elephant foundations to support the preservation of the African wildlife.
The first is the Big Life Foundation’s Ranger Club, working in Tanzania and Kenya. They employ hundreds of Maasai rangers who defend 2 million acres of wilderness, undertaking crucial anti-poaching operations to keep the wildlife in the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem of East Africa protected.
Image taken from https://biglife.org/
The second is the Space For Elephants Foundation in South Africa, who are concerned about the livelihood of elephants and their restriction to move from one area to another. They aim to re-establish lost space to allow elephants and other wildlife to maintain their natural movement and behavioural patterns.
To achieve this, they do a lot to help the poor communities who live adjacent to these areas. Ravaged by unemployment and lack of opportunity, poachers take advantage of this to buy cooperation and information from these neighborhoods . Space for Elephants create employment opportunities for the local community and show them how to earn a living and be aware of the wildlife that surrounds them through community projects and education.
Elephant Gin itself is made up of 14 botanicals, with the exotic ingredients from Africa being Baobab fruit, Buchu plant, African Wormwood, Lion’s Tail and Devil’s Claw. Spicy flavours hit you at first, encompassing floral and fruity notes before the juniper takes over with a long, dry and delicately warm finish. A complex but smooth gin.
Elephant Gin are clearly driven by the passion for the causes that have influenced it and it supports, with every sip doing wonders for both your tastebuds and African wildlife!
What would gin be without juniper? Not gin that’s what!
Juniper is the most critical component when it comes to making gin. The predominant ingredient of gin must must be juniper. Without it, gin cannot be gin, and that in itself is a tragedy, so we should all take a moment to appreciate what juniper has given us!
What is Juniper? Well, Juniper is a species of conifer native to Britain In England. It supports a host of unique wildlife and is an important food source for wild birds, and is a priority species when it comes to conservation.
In recent decades juniper in England has experienced a steep decline due to many factors including poor quality seeds and changes to landscapes due to human activities.
Beckett’s prides itself as being the only distillery to use English juniper in their gin and they pick their juniper on Box Hill in Surrey. In 2014 they began working with the Forestry Commission and the National Trust to start a new conservation project. The aim of this project is to create a new juniper population on Juniper Top in Surrey, where ironically at the time, there was no Juniper!
Beckett’s use seeds extracted from berries picked at Box Hill to plant at Juniper Top. They start the long and hard process by extracting the seeds from the berries, and processing them (in very complicated scientific ways) to produce seedlings for potting. Juniper is a stubborn plant, and to give you an idea of how dedicated Beckett’s are to juniper, it typically takes around a year for seedlings to emerge from the potting mix. After this it will take around another year until they are ready to be planted out on Juniper Top and then a further year for fruit to emerge. That's some serious patience.
Every Autumn the Beckett’s team go out to Box Hill picking juniper berries for their gin as well as collecting more for seed extraction to plant out again on Juniper Top.
Beckett’s is a smooth, full bodied gin, that you’ll be pleased to know is bursting full of that English Juniper! Aromatic and zesty, it is surprisingly both creamy and dry with a gentle peppermint finish. An impeccably balanced gin and English to its very core.
Through hard work and perseverance, Beckett’s are not only doing their bit for the future of the planet and the British ecosystem, they are working hard for the future of British gin and botanicals!
Whitley Neill is another gin built with Africa as their main influence. Johnny Neill, Whitley Neill’s creator, was inspired by his African wife’s passionate and vivid stories from her native home and her fondness for Baobab tree, or ‘Tree of Life’. This species of tree has gained this nickname as they are able to store up to 100,000 litres of water in their trunks to endure harsh drought conditions that can occur in the African bush. The Baobab tree also produces a tart fruit that is used as a botanical in Whitley Neill. A silhouette of the roots of Baobab are featured in Whitley Neill’s logo to reflect the role it had in its creation.
Because of Whitley Neill’s passion for Africa and the Baobab tree, for every bottle sold, 5p is donated to Tree Aid in Africa. Tree Aid is a charity dedicated to reforestation and protecting the environment in Africa, as well as reducing poverty. They have planted an impressive 7.2 million trees across Africa since they were established in 1987. Due to their work over 500,000 villagers have benefitted from improved incomes from tree products meaning better health, education and life chances. If that wasn’t impressive enough, over 1 million people have benefitted from improvements in soil and water conservation.
Whitley Neill use two African Botanicals in their recipe, the Baobab fruit and Cape gooseberries. Both of these ingredients help give the gin it’s distinct and appetising citrusy flavour. The other botanicals used are more traditional and include juniper, coriander, lemon & orange peel, angelica root, cassia bark and orris root as well as some secret ingredients thrown in to add to the mystery!
Whitley Neill is as elegant as it is complex. With a subtle spicy edge and a glorious warmth, it also boasts light zesty notes throughout. Along with your tonic, add a slice of orange or ginger to really compliment these deep flavours.
Whitley Neill were one of the first gins to commit to such an important and distinct cause, helping both the people of Africa and the planet itself. Here’s hoping more gin brands will be influenced by their dedication and passion and follow by example.
Dodd’s Gin (and the London Distillery Company who produce it) have the best interests of the planet in mind with everything they do and create. From start to finish, Dodd’s is completely green and eco-friendly.
All the botanicals they use are 100% organic and approved by the Soil Association, and as a company they are committed to sourcing these as locally and as ethically as possible. The honey they use is sourced by the amazing London Honey Company. Starting with one hive on the roof of an ex-council block in Central London , they now have urban hives across London and have spread to more locations across the country, producing incredibly unique honey.
As a company they are determined to power the distillery by only using alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels, such as solar and wind power. To be as energy and fuel efficient as possible they have designed a unique cooling water system to recover heat from their copper stills for use elsewhere in the distillery. Even their labels are made from carbon neutral paper, made, in turn, using wind power.
Now we know it isn’t specifically for the gin, but for every cask used by the London Distillery for their upcoming whiskey (the first to be distilled in London for over a century!), two trees are planted . Also, the spent grain used for the whiskey is given to local bakeries to use.
Dodd’s Gin itself is rich and full bodied, mostly due the use of honey as a botanical. Juniper and angelica shine through on the palate, with a wonderful spicy warmth from the cardamom. The more you sip the more the citrus notes appear. Full of flavour and quality, all packaged in a beautifully designed bottle.
With pride and conscience the London Distillery produce a gin to be proud of, not just in terms of it being a wonderful gin, but because behind it there is an ethos and attitude that benefits us all.
Silverback Gin is made by the Gorilla Spirits Company who hail from Four Marks, Hampshire. Dreamt up in 2011, it all became a reality when their Silverback Mountain Strength Gin was released in December 2015.
The team behind Gorilla Spirits and Silverback have a passion for protecting the world around them and, unsurprisingly, have quite the fondness for gorillas. However, their love for the powerful and majestic ape doesn’t stop at a name. For every bottle of Silverback sold, £1 goes to The Gorilla Organization.
Image taken from www.gorillas.org
The Gorilla Organization are a gorilla conservation group working to save the world's last remaining gorillas in the wild. They oversee a range of grassroots projects aimed at addressing the key threats facing gorillas today. These are run by local African partners in Rwanda, DR Congo, Gabon, Uganda and Cameroon.
The main threat to gorillas today is loss of habitat. For the poverty-stricken communities around the gorilla habitat, it is the gorilla forest that provides them with many of their fundamental human needs. But, sadly, the collection of basic resources such as water and firewood is destroying the gorilla habitat and, in turn, the gorillas. The Gorilla Organization realise that because of this, tackling poverty will also help the fight to save the gorillas’ habitats.
As well as as well as supporting rangers in their vital work protecting gorillas from poachers' traps, the charity works with these local communities running projects including organic farming and gorilla-friendly beekeeping. These initiatives give people the opportunity to earn a sustainable income without having to rely on the natural resources found in the forest.
Silverback Gin is a fresh, clean and fragrant gin. Coriander takes over the nose at first and leads to zesty orange and light lemongrass. Warm hints of spice and a light citrus sweetness add to it’s depth of flavour along with a pine centre. A subtle floral note appears from the Madagascan acacia blossom, one of the 7 botanicals used to create the SIlverback Mountain Strength Gin.
The Gorilla Spirits Co. are devoted to both their products and gorillas. It is clear that this devotion is at the very heart of their philosophy, from the quality of their gin and the cause towards which they are so dedicated.
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